How to Paint Old Particle Board Cabinets

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver

  • Wood glue

  • C-clamp

  • Bar-clamp

  • Wood filler

  • Putty knife

  • 150-grit sandpaper

  • Dish detergent

  • Rag

  • Painter's tape

  • Oil-base primer

  • Synthetic-bristle paintbrush

  • Medium-nap roller

  • Foam roller

  • Foam brush

Exposed particleboard is ugly, but paint can add fresh color.

Particleboard is commonly used for cabinetry because it is low-cost and easy to install. However, particleboard cabinets don't withstand the test of the time as well as solid wood cabinetry. After years of use, the decorative exterior veneer can peel and crack, exposing the rough, ugly particleboard. Fortunately, you can renew old particleboard cabinets with a fresh coat of paint. After a little TLC, worn particleboard cabinets can look good as new.

Step 1

Remove the cabinet hinges and handles with a screwdriver.

Step 2

Glue peeling veneers back onto the particleboard with wood glue. Clamp the glued veneer in place with a c-clamp or bar-clamp for 24 hours as the glue dries.

Step 3

Patch holes or dents with wood filler. Slather the filler on with a putty knife, wait for it to dry, then sand the surface smooth with 150-grit sandpaper.

Step 4

Wash the surface with dish detergent, water and a rag.

Step 5

Tape any wall surfaces or nearby fixtures with painter's tape to protect them.

Step 6

Apply oil-base primer to tight cabinetry corners with a synthetic-bristle paintbrush. Apply paint to the rest of the particleboard surfaces with a medium-nap roller. Let the primer sit for at least six hours before proceeding. The primer will be dry to the touch long before it cures. Consult the container for the most accurate curing times.

Step 7

Paint the particleboard cabinets with oil-base paint. Oil-base paints with glossy finishes are ideal for most cabinetry, because glossy surfaces are easier to clean than flat or eggshell fishes. If you're using glossy oil-base paint, use a foam roller and foam brush for best results. Matte finishes can be painted with regular medium-nap rollers and synthetic-bristle paintbrushes. Wait for the paint to dry for at least one hour.

Step 8

Apply a second coat of paint if needed.

Step 9

Remove the painter's tape and reattach the cabinetry hardware after 24 hours.


Richard Kalinowski

Richard Kalinowski began writing professionally in 2006. He also works as a website programmer and graphic designer for several clients. Kalinowski holds a Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College and a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.